I’m a restless soul, an aspiring novelist, poor poet, and paradoxical patient with a lifelong, life-threatening condition. I live in London and am never far away from an e-gadget (or i-gadget).
I inherited ADPKD – autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease – from my dad, who inherited it from his mum. Apart from ADPKD, I consider myself to be one of the healthiest people on the planet And therein lies the paradox.
I started this blog after reading the The Patient Paradox by Dr Margaret McCartney.
I then went to hear her talk in a pub in Camden. She said: ‘the biggest change to medicine that has arisen over the course of my career has been the seeming determination of healthcare professionals to bring healthy people into surgeries and clinics, and turn them into patients.’
Her book is about the shaman of prevention and screening. ‘Medicine’s dirty little secrets’. Hauling in the healthy to be screened unnecessarily whilst the genuine sick wait around in waiting rooms or wait on waiting lists to get ‘talking therapies’, scans or other necessary tests.
Her daily paradox is that if you are ill you have to be persistent and determined to get treatment. And if you are well you risk being screened and maybe given treatment for something you don’t have (biopsies resulting from false positives from cancer screening).
In her book, she seeks to explain to readers that they risk ‘being turned into patients’. I have reached an age where I’m now being invited to be screened – sometimes unnecessarily because I am, of course, regularly checked out for diabetes and hypertension by kidney doctors.
I enjoyed the book and recommend it. Well written, succinct, evidence-based. But it got me thinking about the paradox of being someone who really is ‘ill’ but doesn’t feel like a patient. Someone like me. The Paradoxical Patient.
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